30 “But now they laugh at me,
men who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands,
men whose vigor is gone?
Through want and hard hunger
they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation;
they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes,
and the roots of the broom tree for their food.
They are driven out from human company;
they shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell,
in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, a nameless brood,
they have been whipped out of the land.
“And now I have become their song;
I am a byword to them.
They abhor me; they keep aloof from me;
they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.
On my right hand the rabble rise;
they push away my feet;
they cast up against me their ways of destruction.
They break up my path;
they promote my calamity;
they need no one to help them.
As through a wide breach they come;
amid the crash they roll on.
Terrors are turned upon me;
my honor is pursued as by the wind,
and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With great force my garment is disfigured;
it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you for help and you do not answer me;
I stand, and you only look at me.
You have turned cruel to me;
with the might of your hand you persecute me.
You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it,
and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.
For I know that you will bring me to death
and to the house appointed for all living.
“Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
and in his disaster cry for help?
Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
But when I hoped for good, evil came,
and when I waited for light, darkness came.
My inward parts are in turmoil and never still;
days of affliction come to meet me.
I go about darkened, but not by the sun;
I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
I am a brother of jackals
and a companion of ostriches.
My skin turns black and falls from me,
and my bones burn with heat.
My lyre is turned to mourning,
and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
Job 30 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The emotional pain and rawness of Job is on full display. As he walked back into his past and what life had been like, he turns toward the younger men of the community who’ve been judge and jury to his situation. It pains him that his reputation has seemingly fallen. He speaks of his disease that has annihilated him physically and his distance from God. One of these situations would have been sufficient to go off the rails in his pain, but all three have absolutely devastated his emotions.
However, of the three it is God’s silence that hurts the most. This long and intense struggle he has had is heightened by the lack of response from God. He feels personally attacked and neglected.
The silence of God is something we all go through. As we know it’s one of the most alienating feelings. The struggle we have intensifies with each passing moment. Commentator Mason states that classically there are 2 ways in which we will react to this. For some they solicit God’s favor by trying to be very, very good. They hope God takes notice. The second, and by far sometimes the harder of the two is to continue to beg God for His blessing and refuse to relent in pursuing Him.
I think of Jacob who wrestled the entire night with the angel and how he refused to let go until a blessing was given. That story and truly even Job’s dialogue of pain at the moment reveal a lot about not giving up. As much of the time, we can be quitters with things, this is one arena we cannot afford to do so.
For whatever reason you may be experiencing silence at the moment, the call is to not give up. Do not let go of God. Although you feel the pain tremendously, are acutely aware of His absence at the moment, the behind the scenes story of Job reveal much more was going on. When we finally get to the end of Job’s story we will see God’s voice, comfort and blessing being poured out. For Jacob and his wrestling, refusing to let go until a blessing came, he was determined to not let go.
However you are currently struggling, know that God is still there. He’s doing something even within you at this moment of sheer pain and silence.
Job 30 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Which is more agonizing for Job – the suffering he is currently enduring or the exasperation of God’s silence? Which is more agonizing for you?
Now I am about to die; there is no relief for my suffering. 17 At night my bones all ache; the pain that gnaws me never stops. 18 God seizes me by my collar and twists my clothes out of shape. 19 He throws me down in the mud; I am no better than dirt. 20 I call to you, O God, but you never answer; and when I pray, you pay no attention.Job 30:16-20 GNB
Many years ago I can remember my oldest daughter calling out to me in the middle of the night when she was just a toddler. She was very upset about something and trembling with fear. I went into her room and she grabbed me around the neck, locking her legs around my body. She said, “I called for you but you never came!”
Have you ever felt this way about God? Do you feel this way now?
Job is calling out to the Father who is seemingly right in the next room, but there is no answer. I don’t know why I didn’t hear my daughter until the time that I did, but we shared a powerful moment as she found security and comfort in my arms that night. Whatever was bothering her was still on her mind, but she had me there with her, and that made all the difference.
Job’s suffering and humiliation is unbearable, but if he could feel God’s presence, it would go a long way. Again, can you resonate with these feelings?
What does it do for us to think about these things? Does it bring greater appreciation? What do we learn from these ‘dry spells’?
The more I read Job, the more adoration I have for Jesus. Without Him, and the Holy Spirit, we are completely hopeless. Yes, we may go through times where we feel God is silent, but we have His Word, His promises, and His Spirit. These are blessings God has provided for our hearts and minds when we feel like He isn’t listening or doesn’t care. The Scriptures are full of people like us crying out to a God they know hears them and waiting intently for Him to act.
You may not feel like God has heard you, but He has. You may not feel like He is working, but He is. Jesus is proof of His love and the Holy Spirit brings comfort and peace even when there is no reason to feel this way. This is what we must cling to in our most desparate times!